Oct 24, 2015

How Writers Write Fiction Week Two: Cast and Dialogue

For week two we continued working on character, but the focus was on how to handle a larger cast. A concept that came up was interiority, meaning how deeply we get to see into the character. For the main character, we can see his emotions and thought on a deeper level, while for secondary or tertiary characters we don't go that far. If we go into the POV of a tertiary character, we might only see thoughts that tell us something about the main character. The secondary character falls somewhere in between.

Another thing that I learned to use is degrees of conflict. The conflict for the secondary and tertiary characters shouldn't be as big or complicated as that of the main character's.

We also talked about dialogue and how to differentiate your characters from each other using word choice, speech patterns, accents, dialects, emotional reactions, and the content of their dialogue. It's harder than it sounds. The ideal thing would be that the reader can always tell who is speaking just from the dialogue. That's what I'm aiming for, but I'm afraid I don't always succeed. I usually try to stay away from phonetic spelling. A word here or there is fine, but if there's too much it just becomes a pain to read.

The assignment was fun; I got to play with lots of different voices.

I'm loving the course so far, even though it's mainly meant for literary writers.

Up next week: plot!

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